mathleague.org update on SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19)
March 31, 2022
After two years of pandemic-induced disruption, we have finally settled into what we consider a stable plan of operations moving forward, and if no further updates are needed we plan to remove the health alert notice from our website at the end of this school year. We have learned a lot and adapted a lot over the last two years, and the biggest lasting effect is that we have built and will continue to deploy and improve the world’s first and best live online math contest platform. Not only that though, the pandemic has led us to make a number of permanent improvements to our programs:
Finishing out this year - We have set the schedule for all our Championship rounds this year after consulting with our stakeholders, and these contests will feature a mix of online, in-person, and even hybrid events (watch for more details about this!) that best serve our students in each age group and each location. We thank those of you who participated in our February surveys and provided valuable feedback regarding what you'd like the Championship rounds to look like this year.
- We have committed to providing online test opportunities each month during the qualifying season for students in all grade levels and all locations.
- We have permanently eliminated the school membership fee.
- We have eliminated the requirement for chaperones to proctor or grade tests at in-person contests (although we will still welcome and reward volunteers).
- We have opened new social media channels where students can keep informed about our programs and socialize with each other.
- We have started a Number Sense Challenge program where students of all ages can take competitive tests almost every week (and if you like that just wait until you see what we roll out this summer!).
- We have initiated a prize selection process and increased the options available to students who win prizes at our contests.
- We have started a scholarship fund and begun awarding scholarships to the Countdown winners at each of our US National Championships.
- We have expanded the list of underserved populations that are eligible for free contest registrations and given our students a means to contribute free test registrations on their own.
Next school year and beyond - Just like we did before the pandemic, we will continue to schedule in-person qualifying contests whenever and wherever it is feasible to do so. The locations of these contests will depend as always on availability of staff and venues, projected student attendance, and most importantly, public safety concerns. In addition, every student will have an option each qualifying round to attend an online contest if they did not attend an in-person contest that month. In this way we will be able to provide not only the in-person contest experience we've become famous for over the last 25 years but also the online contest experience we've become famous for over the last 25 months, and by combining these delivery methods we will be able to reach far more students than we ever could before or during the pandemic.
December 20, 2021
We have just finished our first semester of the school year along with our first three qualifying rounds, and we are continuing to push forward with in-person contests as circumstances allow. All our contests in Uzbekistan have been held in person since the beginning of 2021, and we held a single-school in-person contest in South Florida in November. Our first multi-school in-person contest in the US was held on December 4 in San Antonio, and you can check out a video of the awards ceremony at our YouTube channel.
Throughout the spring semester, we will be holding a mix of online and in-person contests, so be sure to check out our contest listings for your area to see what testing opportunities are available. We will be adding more in-person qualifying contests to the calendar throughout the spring semester. Remember that regardless of whether there are any in-person contests listed in your area, you will continue to have two dates to choose from to attend an online contest for the remaining qualifying rounds this year. Please refer to our August post for information about championship rounds, and let us know if your school would like to host an in-person District or State Championship.
For now, we are implementing certain health and safety protocols for in-person contests; those protocols can be found at our in-person contest protocol page. Participants will be directed to that page prior to registering for any in-person contest so they can see the most updated protocols. As these protocols change we will post updates, and the most recent protocols that are posted will be in effect for each in-person contest.
August 23, 2021
We are pleased to announce that we have opened registration on our website for a large number of contests this fall. To find out more and learn about the exciting program we have lined up for this school year, check out our update page. We have taken a lot of the extra perks we added during the pandemic and made them permanent, such as elimination of a school membership fee, greater student choice in awards, and online contest opportunities. We are also launching a number of additional improvements, which you can find at the update page.
In pandemic news, we recognize that many of you are not in a safe place yet and may not be for awhile. As such, in addition to cautiously resuming in-person contests in certain markets when and as circumstances allow, we are committed through the fall semester to offering *two* online contest dates to choose from each cycle for every student at every age level; many of these contests are listed on our website and you may begin signing up for those immediately. Moving forward, we will be making online contests a permanent part of our product line so that students who cannot make it to an in-person contest will always have at least one online contest opportunity per cycle for qualifying rounds.
For those of you who are eager to return to in-person contests and have access to a venue we can use to run the contest, please contact us at email@example.com when your city is ready to hold a contest. We can discuss logistics for sending our staff to run the contest or equipping you to run the contest on your own. In the meantime, we have updated our online contest procedures to accommodate both in-home and in-classroom testing for students. Several schools last school year gathered their students to test in a classroom, and we anticipate many more schools will choose this option for now as an intermediate step between home-based and city-wide contests. Teachers are encouraged to sign up for our online workshop that starts in September, where we will give tips on how to facilitate classroom-based testing on our online contest platform. Pay careful attention to the course description, because registration comes with enough complimentary contest entries to effectively make the workshop free for you!
As this year's Championship rounds approach, we will determine on a case by case basis which Championships will be online and which are in-person, taking into account various factors to assess the feasibility of running an in-person contest, such as number of participants, availability of venues, participant feedback, and most of all health and safety considerations.
March 31, 2021
After consulting with other major math contests, all of which have committed to finishing their season online, and sending out a survey in which the overwhelming majority of potential attendees expressed a preference for online contests through June, we have decided that all our US National Championships and all our International Championships will be held online this school year. Details for each Championship are on the relevant sections of our website (click the age level and "events", then click on the June release), and students may begin signing up for each Championship as soon as they have verified their eligibility according to the rules (including the rules in the following paragraph).
Because an online contest does not have the capacity constraints we would see at an in-person contest, we have decided to issue special invitations to attend the US National Championships to certain students who were not on the official qualifiers list. The following special invitations apply for June 2021 and do not affect our official list of qualifiers to the National Championships but are rather indications of additional students we will allow to register for the contests: (1) For any State Championship with 50-99 participating students, the top 6 overall individuals in each grade level; (2) For any State Championship with 100 or more participating students, the top 10 overall individuals in each grade level; (3) For any State Championship with 100 or more participating students, the top 6 overall teams based on the "sweepstakes" score. Please visit the relevant qualification pages for descriptions of how the sweepstakes teams are defined.
We want to close by acknowledging the perspectives of the participants who filled out surveys in support of in-person National Championships. We feel that one of the greatest successes of our program is the connections our contests create among students from different schools, and while we have been working to create social opportunities at our online contests, we look forward to resuming in-person contests as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we will continue to make whatever improvements we can to our online contest system in order to make the system easier to use and enhance testing security, especially as we head into the postseason. For your part, please make sure you are taking whatever precautions you can not only to halt the spread of the virus but also to ensure a swift end to the pandemic.
February 18, 2021
In the spirit of inclusivity, and given the difficulty some of our students have had this year securing reliable internet access, we have decided to eliminate the requirement in 2021 for elementary students in Arizona, Northern California, Florida, Missouri, and Texas to participate in a District Championship prior to competing at the State Championship. The following changes are in effect for the 2020-2021 season only:
The State Championships will be held as scheduled, and students with difficulty accessing the internet will need to plan ahead to make sure they have a stable internet connection for that contest. We plan to resume our normal slate of District Championships for the 2021-2022 season.
- The District Championships that were scheduled on April 10 and 11 will now be qualifying rounds just like the first six rounds were, and elementary students from anywhere may sign up to compete in those qualifying rounds. To sign up for this event, just go to this link and click on April - Qualifying Release 7. If you do not see your state, you may sign up for one of the open enrollment contests.
- Students who previously qualified for their District Championship are now qualified directly to their State Championship. If you have already signed up for a District Championship, you may keep that registration and participate like you would in any qualifying round, or you may contact us to cancel your registration and get a full refund, or you may register for the State Championship and contact us to have your payment transfered to the State Championship.
January 6, 2021
(Learn everything below and more by watching this video from Tim at our new YouTube channel)
Welcome to 2021, everyone! While the recent rollout of vaccines is an encouraging sign, it is clear that we are not out of the woods yet and need to be prepared for continued disruption for the foreseeable future. As such, we have made the following decisions that should be helpful to you while allowing us to better serve the wonderful and dedicated students who have placed their trust in us for the second year in a row to be the ONLY math contest in the US that is offering Championship rounds designed to identify the top school teams in each state and in the nation as a whole.
Qualifying Rounds Online - First, all remaining qualifying rounds run by mathleague.org staff will be held online. A full schedule of events is on our website now, offering every student in grades 3-12 a choice of at least two different times to take the tests from qualifying round 5 and qualifying round 6. Students participating in contests run by our partners should contact their local coordinators for information regarding how those tests will be conducted; it appears that all contests in Bulgaria, China, and Uzbekistan will be online for the rest of the season, and we are still waiting for word from coordinators in the other countries.
District and State Championships Online - We have also decided to hold all our District and State Championships online. A full schedule for all these Championships will be posted on our website by January 15. It is likely that all National Championships outside the US will be online as well; your national coordinators will let you know about those plans. As for the US National Championships and the International Championships, we hope to be able to update you by March 31 regarding whether those events will be online or in person.
PDF Sharing - Because of the fact that many of us are still unable to gather in person, we are relaxing our restrictions on distributing our tests within your school community. Effective immediately and for the entire calendar year 2021, any electronic versions of our Contest Problem Sets you have legitimately acquired (i.e. PDFs you have received directly from us as a result of a purchase or a contest you attended) you may share with members of your school community, as long as you notify the recipients that you allowed to share the files under this rule but they are NOT to share the files with anyone else. This is a departure from our previous rule that said you could only share paper copies of the tests. Note that the restriction remains that you may only share the files within your school community and only if you were actually sent the tests directly from us. We are counting on you to respect the integrity of this system, as we rely on test sales to fund the paychecks we send to the writers and editors of future tests.
Online Discussion of Problems - Similarly to the last point, because many students do not have the opportunity to meet in person to discuss how to do our problems, we want to encourage students to interact more online. To that end we have designated the mathleague.org forum on AoPS as a space for students to discuss old problems in a moderated environment free of copyright restrictions. The forum can be accessed by clicking the AoPS logo near the top right of every page on our website, and the announcement about opening the forum for discussion can be found at this link.
August 12, 2020
Welcome back to another exciting math contest season!
The past few months have presented many challenges for all of us. In March, we were forced along with every other social institution to make some difficult and even existential decisions about whether and how we could continue to serve our constituents. As most math contests were preparing to wind down their incomplete seasons in March, our team successfully pushed ahead with a plan to move all of our contests online. We are proud to have been the first math contest in the world to fully transition to online contests in response to the pandemic as well as the only major math contest in the United States that continued operations uninterrupted without sacrificing a single event. In fact, as other math contests closed, we actually expanded our programs to accommodate students who no longer had a place to compete. Our National and International Championships saw record participation as students across the country and around the world placed their trust in us to provide some stability when so much of the world around us was falling apart. We have worked hard over the last 20 years to build a reputation as the most reliable math contest on the planet, and we thank you for allowing us to prove that to you once again this spring. We do not know what this coming year will bring and when other math contests will ramp back up to something that resembles normal, but we remain committed to ensuring that every student in grades 3-12 in the United States has the opportunity to qualify for a State Championship at their grade level and, if they do well enough, proceed to a National Championship.
We are pleased to announce today that we have released a schedule of online contests for the entire fall semester that offers every student in the United States a choice of two different dates to attend a qualifying contest for each test release, with our first contests starting on September 12. Please see the event pages for your age level (elementary, middle, or high school) to register for our upcoming contests. Hopefully we will be able to resume holding in-person contests in the Spring of 2021, but we are prepared to continue holding contests online as long as public safety requires. For students outside the US, please contact your National Coordinators to find out when contests will be scheduled in your countries, or send us an email if you do not know who your National Coordinator is.
Due to the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, we will be waiving all school membership fees for this school year, which means that students need only pay the registration fees for each contest they attend and do not have to worry about the $40 school membership fee we have charged in the past. We will continue to offer one full team of free in-school contest registrations to Title I schools that notify us of their status on their membership form, and we will extend the same offer to all schools in Africa as well.
May 24, 2020
After much observation and deliberation, we have determined that it is neither practical nor wise to continue exploring the possibility of holding our national championships in person this year. We will hold all three national championships (and their corresponding world championships for non-US teams) online: High School on June 13, Elementary School on June 20, and Middle School on June 27. Please see the respective pages of these contests for more information and links to register. Invitations will be sent out soon to all qualified students.
Now that we have seen more than 5000 students at over 100 online contests, we are fully prepared to run our contests online as long as necessary. We look forward to reinstating our in-person contests as soon as it makes sense to do so, and once in-person contests resume we will continue to incorporate online contests into our schedule to some extent. More details will be released as they become available.
March 26, 2020
At this point we have held almost 20 online contests with a total of over 500 students, and we continue to refine our system after each contest to make it even better. Thanks to all of you who have given us a chance to prove that a real-time online contest can work!
We have decided to move all of our state championships online for this school year as well. We will be working over the next few days to update our contest listings and transfer over all the registrations we have received so far for state meets. Please check our website at the beginning of April when our contest listings for the state championships will be complete.
All national and world championships have been removed from the calendar at this point as we are waiting a little longer to make a decision on which dates to host these and whether to hold them online or in person. We will post more information about these championships when we have it.
March 12, 2020
All contests in the continental US are moving online until further notice: Now that most of the highly visible sports and competitions have shut down, we have decided to push up the timing of our latest alert rather than waiting until Monday. The good news is we are not canceling any contests this year! Our staff have been working round the clock this week to come up with a plan to run our contests online, and we will be piloting our online contest system Saturday before rolling it out league-wide next week. We are excited about this new system and proud to be able to continue serving our students when so many other organizations have simply shut down for the time being.
We will be updating the details of upcoming contests over the weekend to reflect the transition to online test administration and will be following up with everyone who has registered for the affected contests. Our standard refund policy for contests will be back in effect starting March 16, and all registration fees for online contests will need to be prepaid unless prior approval is given. All contests in the continental US will move online at least until April 12, and we will post an update by early April when we have a better idea of when things might be back to normal. Since many of you have students who will be staying home from school for awhile, we will also be offering additional online classes over the next few weeks; be sure to check out the classes tab on our website next week for more details.
Please note that while no contests will be canceled, some contests will end up being postponed. Four of the contests scheduled for this Saturday have been postponed anywhere from 90 minutes to one week in order to give us time to prepare our online contest system. We will notify participants of the new schedules and will do the same if any further contests need to be postponed. Perhaps most significantly, the (INTER)2 SECT Championship will be postponed until later in the school year. We will wait to commit to a date until we have a better sense of the MATHCOUNTS schedule for the rest of the school year.
Our online contests will be conducted in an online meeting space where all students will gather in the same online meeting room and get access to the tests at the same time, and they will conclude with a countdown round (at all age levels) and announcement of winners. Our aim in developing our online contest system has been to preserve as much of the unique mathleague.org contest experience as possible, and we hope you like the result! We appreciate the support and patience all of you have exhibited as we prepared this option, and now we ask all of you to help make this new phase of our operations a success. Thank you for working with us as we adapt to continue providing opportunities for our students to showcase their mathematical talents.
March 12, 2020
As things continue to change rapidly, we are working to develop solutions that will keep our students safe while preserving the sense of community that our math contests are famous for. We will post a detailed short-term plan on Monday that will likely involve some disruption to our contest calendar. Please check this page again on Monday afternoon. In the meantime, we recommend holding off on making any travel arrangements to upcoming contests.
March 9, 2020
[Read below for a change to the middle school Bay Area Championship.] We wanted to provide a little insight into our thought process as we continue to monitor the situation and consider whether to make any adjustments to our operations. First, please note that we are trying as much as possible to avoid cancellation of any events, preferring to allow students and parents to make their own choices as to whether to participate in any given event. However, there is always the possibility that an event may need to be canceled or modified due to circumstances beyond our control such as a government mandate. If that happens we will move as swiftly as possible to communicate any change in plans to those who have registered for the affected event(s). As we have thought through a lot of options and scenarios regarding our postseason schedule, a primary consideration has been to balance the goals of limiting the size of each contest and limiting the number of contests, because each of these factors contributes to a student’s risk of exposure. As such, our current plan regarding the postseason Championships is as follows:
District Championships: We intend to proceed as planned with our District Championships so as to reduce the number of students at any given contest. Our District Championships will average fewer than 120 students, and the geographic distribution of the students is somewhat compact. Our State Championships will average fewer than 200 students. If we didn’t hold District Championships, these states would average over 400 geographically dispersed students qualified for the State Championship. So mathematically speaking the average student will encounter much less risk of exposure by going through the District and State Championships than they would just going to a State Championship.
Bay Area Championship: Conversely, we have crunched the numbers on the path that students in the Bay Area take to get to (INTER)2 SECT, and we project that the average student will encounter less cumulative risk of exposure if we eliminate a Bay Area Championship as a gatekeeper in Northern California. As such, we are making two changes: (1) The contest scheduled for this Saturday will be held as planned, but it will not be a Bay Area Championship. Instead, it will be an open enrollment contest and will be a qualifier on equal footing with the monthly contests we have held since October. (2) Students who had qualified for the Bay Area Championship will now qualify directly to the (INTER)2 SECT Championship on April 4, as will any additional students who qualify at this Saturday’s contest. For students outside the Bay Area, nothing changes as far as (INTER)2 SECT plans; we have confirmed with the host site that they are unlikely to close the campus unless things get far worse.
March 9, 2020
The Philippine Department of Education has extended its ban on competitions through the end of this month, so our National Championships scheduled for March 21 in Makati have been canceled. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending the World Championships in the US so we can arrange a plan to get your students qualified.
March 4, 2020
A significant component of what we do at mathleague.org involves gathering students in one location to take competitive math tests. As such, we are closely monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and evaluating its potential impact on our operations. During this outbreak our objective is to safeguard the health and well-being of our participants while continuing, as long as it does not compromise public safety, to provide the same opportunities to students that we always have. To that end we are issuing the following guidelines for our math contests:
- We will continue to plan for and hold our scheduled events whenever feasible and prudent. If government directives or infrastructure failures require us to do so, we will initiate whatever changes are necessary, but as long as schools, sporting events, and other competitions continue to operate without disruption we will plan to do the same. If an event needs to be rescheduled, canceled, or otherwise altered, we will post information about it on this page and notify registered participants by email.
- Students and accompanying adults at our contests are encouraged to take all reasonable precautions to limit their exposure to SARS-CoV-2, including frequent washing of hands and avoidance of unnecessary physical contact with others. Attendees who wish to wear face masks, gloves, or other protective apparatus will be allowed to do so but are asked to employ their best judgment as to whether it is necessary to purchase or use such items. Attendees may be subjected to a temperature or other precautionary screening prior to entering the test center if the event organizers deem it appropriate.
- Students who are feeling unwell are urged to stay home from our contests. While we encourage students to attend the contest if they are healthy enough to do so, we will offer a full refund of prepaid registration fees to any students who notify us prior to the start of the contest that they need to stay home for health reasons. This is a deviation from our normal refund policy and will remain in effect until this notice is removed or superceded by a subsequent notice on this page. All other policies regarding payment of fees will continue as normal.
- Unless we subsequently deem it appropriate, no alternate testing arrangements (different dates or locations) will be granted for our contests. All students who choose to participate will continue to test in the same building and on the same date. All students who are participating in a District, State, National, or World Championship must attend the event to which they are assigned.
- Depending on how the public health situation develops over the next few months, our leadership team will decide over the summer whether to make more substantive changes to our policies and operational procedures in order to keep everyone safe while maintaining as much of what makes our contests special as possible.